Studying organizations over the years, I have found that new marketing leaders often join companies that have only the beginnings of a marketing function. Facing such a situation, how do you invent a marketing function? What are the key steps? What capabilities help marketing deliver what it can offer companies?
Kim Feil, Chief Marketing Officer of Walgreens, faced this challenge. I had a chance to interview Kim for The CMO Survey and learned more about how she approached this important assignment. What I heard resonates with what I have learned from so many marketing leaders over the years—great marketing is so much more than tactics, more than building revenues, more than short-term impact.
Peter Drucker captured what marketing should do when he said that the purpose of business is to create and keep customers. Marketing can lead the a company’s interactions with customers— by creating value for customers from the company and by capturing value from customers for the company.
Kim took dead aim on understanding how Walgreens should connect with its customers, in other words, the value it offers better than competitors. She settled on the “There’s a way to stay well” platform that she then helped drive relentlessly through all of the business units and through Walgreens’ own brands. Importantly, this was not just a concept or a promotion—it was a strategy that was built on capability, organization, metrics, and talent. Since it’s still baseball season, let’s refer to this accomplishment as “The house that Kim built.” It’s a pretty impressive piece of architecture and implementation. Read the interview for yourself »
Kim raised Walgreens to a higher game. She didn’t let marketing focus on just tactics or revenues. She built a complete marketing function that imagines, delivers, and measures the core purpose of the business. This is what marketing does best.